Thursday, July 23, 2009

RC Passages for 23rd July

Passage 17

Prior to 1975, union efforts to organize public-sector clerical workers, most of whom are women, were somewhat limited. The factors favoring unionization drives seem to have been either the presence of large numbers of workers, as in New York City, to make it worth the effort, or the concentration of small numbers in one or two locations, such as a hospital, to make it relatively easy. Receptivity to unionization on the workers’ part was also a consideration, but when there were large numbers involved or the clerical workers were the only unorganized group in a jurisdiction, the multi-occupational unions would often try to organize them regardless of the workers’ initial receptivity. The strategic reasoning was based, first, on the concern that politicians and administrators might play off unionized against non-unionized workers, and, second, on the conviction that a fully unionized public work force meant power, both at the bargaining table and in the legislature. In localities where clerical workers were few in number, were scattered in several workplaces, and expressed no interest in being organized, unions more often than not ignored them in the pre-1975 period.
But since the mid-1970’s, a different strategy has emerged. In 1977, 34 percent of government clerical workers were represented by a labor organization, compared with 46 percent of government professionals, 44 percent of government blue-collar workers, and 41 percent of government service workers. Since then, however, the biggest increases in public-sector unionization have been among clerical workers. Between 1977 and 1980, the number of unionized government workers in blue-collar and service occupations increased only about 1.5 percent, while in the white-collar occupations the increase was 20 percent and among clerical workers in particular, the increase was 22 percent.
What accounts for this upsurge in unionization among clerical workers? First, more women have entered the work force in the past few years, and more of them plan to remain working until retirement age. Consequently, they are probably more concerned than their predecessors were about job security and economic benefits. Also, the women’s movement has succeeded in legitimizing the economic and political activism of women on their own behalf, thereby producing a more positive attitude toward unions. The absence of any comparable increase in unionization among private-sector clerical workers, however, identifies the primary catalyst—the structural change in the multi-occupational public-sector unions themselves. Over the past twenty years, the occupational distribution in these unions has been steadily shifting from predominantly blue-collar to predominantly white-collar. Because there are far more women in white-collar jobs, an increase in the proportion of female members has accompanied the occupational shift and has altered union policy-making in favor of organizing women and addressing women’s issues.

1. According to the passage, the public-sector workers who were most likely to belong to unions in 1977 were

(A) professionals
(B) managers
(C) clerical workers
(D) service workers
(E) blue-collar workers

2. The author cites union efforts to achieve a fully unionized work force (line 13-19) in order to account for why

(A) politicians might try to oppose public-sector union organizing
(B) public-sector unions have recently focused on organizing women
(C) early organizing efforts often focused on areas where there were large numbers of workers
(D) union efforts with regard to public-sector clerical workers increased dramatically after 1975
(E) unions sometimes tried to organize workers regardless of the workers’ initial interest in unionization

3. The author’s claim that, since the mid-1970’s, a new strategy has emerged in the unionization of public-sector clerical workers (line 23) would be strengthened if the author

(A) described more fully the attitudes of clerical workers toward labor unions
(B) compared the organizing strategies employed by private-sector unions with those of public-sector unions
(C) explained why politicians and administrators sometimes oppose unionization of clerical workers
(D) indicated that the number of unionized public-sector clerical workers was increasing even before the mid-1970’s
(E) showed that the factors that favored unionization drives among these workers prior to 1975 have decreased in importance

4. According to the passage, in the period prior to 1975, each of the following considerations helped determine whether a union would attempt to organize a certain group of clerical workers EXCEPT

(A) the number of clerical workers in that group
(B) the number of women among the clerical workers in that group
(C) whether the clerical workers in that area were concentrated in one workplace or scattered over several workplaces
(D) the degree to which the clerical workers in that group were interested in unionization
(E) whether all the other workers in the same jurisdiction as that group of clerical workers were unionized

5. The author states that which of the following is a consequence of the women’s movement of recent years?

(A) An increase in the number of women entering the work force
(B) A structural change in multi-occupational public-sector unions
(C) A more positive attitude on the part of women toward unions
(D) An increase in the proportion of clerical workers that are women
(E) An increase in the number of women in administrative positions

6. The main concern of the passage is to

(A) advocate particular strategies for future efforts to organize certain workers into labor unions
(B) explain differences in the unionized proportions of various groups of public-sector workers
(C) evaluate the effectiveness of certain kinds of labor unions that represent public-sector workers
(D) analyzed and explain an increase in unionization among a certain category of workers
(E) describe and distinguish strategies appropriate to organizing different categories of workers

7. The author implies that if the increase in the number of women in the work force and the impact of the women’s movement were the main causes of the rise in unionization of public-sector clerical workers, then

(A) more women would hold administrative positions in unions
(B) more women who hold political offices would have positive attitudes toward labor unions
(C) there would be an equivalent rise in unionization of private-sector clerical workers
(D) unions would have shown more interest than they have in organizing women
(E) the increase in the number of unionized public-sector clerical workers would have been greater than it has been

8. The author suggests that it would be disadvantageous to a union if

(A) many workers in the locality were not unionized
(B) the union contributed to political campaigns
(C) the union included only public-sector workers
(D) the union included workers from several jurisdictions
(E) the union included members from only a few occupations

9. The author implies that, in comparison with working women today, women working in the years prior to the mid-1970’s showed a greater tendency to

(A) prefer smaller workplaces
(B) express a positive attitude toward labor unions
(C) maximize job security and economic benefits
(D) side with administrators in labor disputes
(E) quit working prior of retirement age

Passage 18

Milankovitch proposed in the early twentieth century that the ice ages were caused by variations in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. For sometime this theory was considered untestable, largely because there was no sufficiently precise chronology of the ice ages with which the orbital variations could be matched.
To establish such a chronology it is necessary to determine the relative amounts of land ice that existed at various times in the Earth’s past. A recent discovery makes such a determination possible: relative land-ice volume for a given period can be deduced from the ratio of two oxygen isotopes, 16 and 18, found in ocean sediments. Almost all the oxygen in water is oxygen 16, but a few molecules out of every thousand incorporate the heavier isotope 18. When an ice age begins, the continental ice sheets grow, steadily reducing the amount of water evaporated from the ocean that will eventually return to it. Because heavier isotopes tend to be left behind when water evaporates from the ocean surfaces, the remaining ocean water becomes progressively enriched in oxygen 18. The degree of enrichment can be determined by analyzing ocean sediments of the period, because these sediments are composed of calcium carbonate shells of marine organisms, shells that were constructed with oxygen atoms drawn from the surrounding ocean. The higher the ratio of oxygen 18 to oxygen 16 in a sedimentary specimen, the more land ice there was when the sediment was laid down.
As an indicator of shifts in the Earth’s climate, the isotope record has two advantages. First, it is a global record: there is remarkably little variation in isotope ratios in sedimentary specimens taken from different continental locations. Second, it is a more continuous record than that taken from rocks on land. Because of these advantages, sedimentary evidence can be dated with sufficient accuracy by radiometric methods to establish a precise chronology of the ice ages. The dated isotope record shows that the fluctuations in global ice volume over the past several hundred thousand years have a pattern: an ice age occurs roughly once every 100,000 years. These data have established a strong connection between variations in the Earth’s orbit and the periodicity of the ice ages.
However, it is important to note that other factors, such as volcanic particulates or variations in the amount of sunlight received by the Earth, could potentially have affected the climate. The advantage of the Milankovitch theory is that it is testable: changes in the Earth’s orbit can be calculated and dated by applying Newton’s laws of gravity to progressively earlier configurations of the bodies in the solar system. Yet the lack of information about other possible factors affecting global climate does not make them unimportant.

1. In the passage, the author is primarily interested in

(A) suggesting an alternative to an outdated research method
(B) introducing a new research method that calls an accepted theory into question
(C) emphasizing the instability of data gathered from the application of a new scientific method
(D) presenting a theory and describing a new method to test that theory
(E) initiating a debate about a widely accepted theory

2. The author of the passage would be most likely to agree with which of the following statements about the Milankovitch theory?

(A) It is the only possible explanation for the ice ages.
(B) It is too limited to provide a plausible explanation for the ice ages, despite recent research findings.
(C) It cannot be tested and confirmed until further research on volcanic activity is done.
(D) It is one plausible explanation, though not the only one, for the ice ages.
(E) It is not a plausible explanation for the ice ages, although it has opened up promising possibilities for future research.

3. It can be inferred from the passage that the isotope record taken from ocean sediments would be less useful to researchers if which of the following were true?

(A) It indicated that lighter isotopes of oxygen predominated at certain times.
(B) It had far more gaps in its sequence than the record taken from rocks on land.
(C) It indicated that climate shifts did not occur every 100,000 years.
(D) It indicated that the ratios of oxygen 16 and oxygen 18 in ocean water were not consistent with those found in fresh water.
(E) It stretched back for only a million years.

4. According to the passage, which of the following is true of the ratios of oxygen isotopes in ocean sediments?

(A) They indicate that sediments found during an ice age contain more calcium carbonate than sediments formed at other times.
(B) They are less reliable than the evidence from rocks on land in determining the volume of land ice.
(C) They can be used to deduce the relative volume of land ice that was present when the sediment was laid down.
(D) They are more unpredictable during an ice age than in other climatic conditions.
(E) They can be used to determine atmospheric conditions at various times in the past.

5. It can be inferred from the passage that precipitation formed from evaporated ocean water has

(A) the same isotopic ratio as ocean water
(B) less oxygen 18 than does ocean water
(C) less oxygen 18 than has the ice contained in continental ice sheets
(D) a different isotopic composition than has precipitation formed from water on land
(E) more oxygen 16 than has precipitation formed from fresh water

6. According to the passage, which of the following is (are) true of the ice ages?

I. The last ice age occurred about 25,000 years ago.
II. Ice ages have lasted about 10,000 years for at least the last several hundred thousand years.
III. Ice ages have occurred about every 100,000 years for at least the last several hundred thousand years.

(A) I only
(B) II only
(C) III only
(D) I and only
(E) I, II and III

7. It can be inferred from the passage that calcium carbonate shells

(A) are not as susceptible to deterioration as rocks
(B) are less common in sediments formed during an ice age
(C) are found only in areas that were once covered by land ice
(D) contain radioactive material that can be used to determine a sediment’s isotopic composition
(E) reflect the isotopic composition of the water at the time the shells were formed

8. The purpose of the last paragraph of the passage is to

(A) offer a note of caution
(B) introduce new evidence
(C) present two recent discoveries
(D) summarize material in the preceding paragraphs
(E) offer two explanations for a phenomenon

9. According to the passage, one advantage of studying the isotope record of ocean sediments is that it

(A) corresponds with the record of ice volume taken from rocks on land
(B) shows little variation in isotope ratios when samples are taken from different continental locations
(C) corresponds with predictions already made by climatologists and experts in other fields
(D) confirms the record of ice volume initially established by analyzing variations in volcanic emissions
(E) provides data that can be used to substantiate records concerning variations in the amount of sunlight received by the Earth

Click here for Answers of above RC Passages

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